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Evangeline Lilly Says Edgar Wright's 'Ant-Man' Wasn't Marvel Enough

by
December 3, 2014
Source: BuzzFeed

Evangeline Lilly / Ant-Man

Right now the cast of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is making publicity rounds since the film is just two weeks away from hitting theaters. And that's why Buzzfeed caught up with Evangeline Lilly, where the conversation eventually turned to Marvel's Ant-Man. The actress, who's playing Hope Van Dyne, daughter of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), actually had some pretty interesting insight on the publicized departure of director Edgar Wright, a big part of the reason much of the cast signed on to the comic book film. In short, Lilly says that what Wright wanted to do with the film was great, but she says that it might have been too far out of Marvel's wheelhouse to mesh with the grand scheme of their cinematic universe.

First, Lilly was asked how she felt when Wright left the production:

"Shocked. And mortified, at first. Actually, I wouldn’t say mortified. You know, a creative project is a moving target. You never end up where you start. But we all, I think, signed on very enthusiastically with Edgar. We were excited to work with Edgar. We were fans of Edgar. So when the split happened, I was in the fortunate position where I had not signed my contract yet. So I had the choice to walk away, and I almost did. Because I thought, 'Well, if it’s because Marvel are big bullies, and they just want a puppet and not someone with a vision, I’m not interested in being in this movie.' Which is what I was afraid of.”

Lilly goes on to talk about the differences in Wright's vision and Marvel's plans:

“I saw with my own eyes that Marvel had just pulled the script into their world. I mean, they’ve established a universe, and everyone has come to expect a certain aesthetic, a certain feel for Marvel films. And what Edgar was creating was much more in the Edgar Wright camp of films. They were very different. And I feel like, if [Marvel] had created Edgar’s incredible vision — which would have been, like, classic comic book — it would have been such a riot to film [and] it would have been so much fun to watch. [But] it wouldn’t have fit in the Marvel Universe. It would have stuck out like a sore thumb, no matter how good it was. It just would have taken you away from this cohesive universe they’re trying to create. And therefore it ruins the suspended disbelief that they’ve built.”

So while it sounds like Edgar Wright would have directed the hell out of Ant-Man, perhaps the director just had too strong of a vision to fit in with that Marvel had planned. But at the same time, it's disappointing that Marvel isn't willing to let directors infuse more of a variety of styles into their films to make each more distinct. If there's one complaint Marvel naysayers have, it's that the films are a little too similar to each other in story, theme and style. However, Marvel did let James Gunn have a decent amount of freedom with Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the biggest outliers, and look how great that turned out. It's not like comic books are all the same, so maybe the films should be a little more diverse as well. Anyway, hopefully Ant-Man still turns out all right next year. Thoughts?

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  • "It's not like comic books are all the same" No duh... But Marvel is kind of strict about how all their books connect. All stories must serve the bigger mandated event they tell every year. Everything is just a lead up, or peripherally important story to the main event. Nothing really gets too crazy and if it does, it happens in another dimension, or in the future that isn't set, or some other BS. The fact is Marvel books are kind of all the same. And Marvel movies are going to be too. Marvel Studios has seen what happens when you take an auteur and put them in a popcorn movie environment. You get Scott Pilgrim which is GREAT, and I love it, but tanked at the box office. or Green Hornet, which I don't like as much, but was subversive enough to tank as well. I don't think Marvel is in the business of making artsy cult films and that's fine.
  • Rock n Rollllll
    Ive heard lots of interviews and the consensus was that when this was invisioned back in 2006, Edgar Wrights original story line would not fit in with whats going on today with the Marvel Universe and Edgar was not willing to change his script; hence the reason for "creative differences".
  • VAharleywitch
    I think GotG also had some leeway in being "out there" because it takes place in space, tying into the MCU. Whereas AntMan takes place "in our world" similar to the bulk of the MCU thus far, so it had to mesh better.
  • Tuomas Lassila
    Feige is the visionary of MCU, he knows what he's doing. If Wrights direction wasn't the one he felt right for the franchise, then it's likely a good thing Wright departured.
    • Reznik
      I love Edgar Wright and his style, but as you said Kevin Feige is invaluable, he has yet to fail us and as long as he's around I don't see Marvel failing. Props to the guy.
  • Chris Groves
    Idiots jumped to the 'OMG Marvel is squashing creativity' bandwagon when Wright first left, but the fact of the matter is that the smart ones among us likely saw it as a genuine case of the parties not seeing eye-to-eye on the vision of the film. Do you think Whedon, The Russo Bros, or James Gunn would have delivered such great films, had such positive experiences, and jumped right on board another film with Marvel Studios if they were nearly as bad as some were making them out to be? Hell no. I'm glad that they "caught" the unmanageable disagreements with Wright early on, so that we didn't get a situation like with Norton, where the parties are fighting over the final cut of the film and then the star of their movie conveniently leaves the country for charity work at the time where he would have been making the press rounds promoting the film. And while Alan Taylor and Marvel both seemed to handle things in a much more professional manner, it was clear that there were struggles with that film as well. Taylor was already a replacement director, and when he says things like "I'd love to do a director's cut" and had a slip of the tongue saying he was glad not to take credit for the mid-credits scene....you can kind of tell that he and Marvel didn't "gel" as well as they could have. Despite all of the speed bumps, Marvel Studios has yet to produce a bad film. Some are masterpieces, some are great, and some are just good, but none have been outright bad. I see no reason to believe that Ant-Man will break the trend.
  • shane willett
    I disagree - thats what makes comic such a ever changing medium. Is a comic can go through 1-5 writers in a few years time. So this would have been great to see.
  • RAW_D
    Lilly's comments have since softened the blow I initially had to the news of Wright leaving the project. That test footage from Comic-Con seemed to be exactly what Ant-Man should be, and with Paul Rudd attached, I was really hopeful. But...it makes sense now. Both had strong visions, both decided to part ways. That's that.
  • Terry Craig
    I can see why they chose to do what they've chosen to do (fire Wright because of Marvel's different style), but this only strengthens the argument that movie franchises prevent their individual movies to be as good as they can be. And what's so good about making all superheroes look the same anyway? Maybe that's why I don't like the Marvel movie franchise in the first place.
    • Chris Groves
      Well it isn't like the choice is 'make a good movie or make a movie that is consistent with the others' or 'make a unique movie or make a crappy movie' A movie can be inherently consistent with the 'universe' that is established while also having a personal stamp on it. Is Guardians of the Galaxy very similar to Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Those are arguably the most extreme examples of different styles in the MCU, but they both ARE still a part of the MCU. If Feige and co felt that what Wright was doing was TOO far out of line with the MCU...then he must have had some pretty outlandish plans. I mean, I love Scott Pilgrim vs The World, but do I want THAT level of absurdity in a movie that is supposed to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? I can't say I do.

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